SPOT THE SPINNER

Adventure across the azure ocean on a morning marine life excursionWith optimal ocean visibility, see manta rays, whales, dolphins, sharks and sailfishGet up-close and very personal with dolphins on a luxury cruise​​Joining at least one morning Lucky Whale Shark Snorkeling excursion is a must. They happen every Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday and the 9 a.m. departure guarantees optimal underwater visibility—plus that’s the time when marine life is most active. Ask the captain to detour past Maamagilli Airport where dolphins and sailfish gather around its plankton-filled lagoon. Scientists have identified nearly two dozen species of whales and dolphins across the whole of the Maldives, including spinner, bottlenose, Risso’s, Fraser’s, rough-toothed, and spotted dolphins. You’ll lose count of the playful bottlenose families cresting above the azure ocean as our boat cruises past. Getting back on track, you’ll set off to swim with South Ari Atoll’s manta rays and whale sharks that congregate to mass-feed all year round. (You’ll get plenty of intel before your snorkel from the guides who work closely with the local Whale Shark Research Program.) This is definitely an experience where you’ll want to bring along a GoPro for underwater video of your adventure. If you’re craving more up-close-and-personal-time with dolphins, book the 90-minute Luxury Lucky Dolphin Cruise. Though there are cruises on other days, we prefer the outings on Mondays and Thursdays because they’re on the traditional white-sail Maldivian dhoni, a vessel which traces its origins back to the ancient Phoenicians. (For the best vantage point, we suggest you sit at the front.) Tip: Check out the way the skipper uses his feet to control the rudder.​